Port Hardy, Vancouver Island

This is our first day in Port Hardy, on the northern part of Vancouver Island.

We started with a short visit to the local hardware store as we were hiking in bear country after all. If not a shotgun, we should at least have a bear spray, bear horn or something similar to survive, I thought. But the sales lady wasn’t able to sell us anything else but a little bell which is meant to announce our presence to Mr. Bear. She had not seen many bears yet, she told us, but she heard of many who did. OK, so off we went with a tiny bell.

That first walk we earmarked was called “Bear Cove Highway”. What better hike to find to test our magic bear bell. But that hike turned out to be a bit boring. So after 20 minutes, we turned back and chose some other place to hike. There is one thing though, I have not yet understood. What is a “Sasquatch”?

Instead, we had a short walk at a pier with lots of sports fishermen bringing in their boats and catch. We talked to a couple of friendly fishermen and one couple came 250km away to fish here. In their box there were a couple of good-size salmons and he was in all smiles.

Later, we went on to another walk which ended with a visit and a very instructive guided tour at the Qatse Salmon Stewardship Center, a salmon hatchery. There, we learned that baby salmons have something called an imprint – a visual and olfactory memory of their natal home river to swim back to from the ocean to spawn. The jaws of male salmons change at the period of mating and become fierce-looking, which help them to fight against other male salmons and also attract female salmons. The animal world is full of wonders!

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